This Canada Day, make space in your celebrations of our beautiful country for the voices and stories of its First Peoples.
The confirmations of thousands of Indigenous children's bodies found at former residential school sites across Canada underscore the long-overdue need for government and non-Indigenous people to listen, learn, participate in conversations, and take tangible actions to address the past and present mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples.
In 2017, the federal government invited AWN to the Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self Determination Table (RIRSD) "to explore the Parties’ respective interests and identify ways to advance reconciliation through the recognition of AWN rights on the basis of mutual respect, rights recognition, cooperation, and partnership."
After a year of hard work preparing for the RIRSD including forming a negotiation team, gathering input and information, and attending preliminary meetings in Edmonton and Ottawa, AWN was shocked when Canada put a hold on the table discussions. Canada had no explanation why and would only say that they 'did not know who AWN is'.
In 2019, AWN contracted C.I.A Solutions INC, a majority-Indigenous-owned video production company in Grande Prairie, to help us tell the Aseniwuche Winewak story and who we are. As Elder Jane McDonald says in the film, "That's our families [from a] long time ago. They [are] still there, and we are here too. And nobody can put us away."
Today, we invite the Grande Cache community, Albertans, Canadians, politicians, and beyond to listen to our voices and story and learn about those whose land they share and benefit from living and working on.
To the AWN community, thank you to those who were a part of this project. Thank you for having the courage and willingness to share your voice. We were not able to include all the exceptional people that make up Aseniwuche Winewak Nation and acknowledge that there are many more stories deserving to be told. This is only the beginning of a much-needed shift.
We hope you enjoy, Resilient: The Aseniwuche Winewak Story.